NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) Wednesday announced the launch of a new long-term care webpage, providing a user-friendly portal to identify the reopening status of facilities in the state, information on current outbreaks, frequently asked questions, and resources for residents, families, and staff. This new resource is among many recommendations implemented as part of the nursing home review conducted by Manatt Health.
“The issues we faced in long-term care amid the COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to examine ways to improve the resiliency of this industry,” Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said. “The launch of this page will provide key updates to families, loved ones, and advocates help to strengthen emergency response capacity and increase transparency and accountability, two core recommendations of the Manatt report.”
The new interactive Phased Reopening map allows users to view detailed information on individual facilities and link to summaries of their inspections, making it easier for consumers to view critical information about the performance of each facility on key health and safety metrics. The map will be updated weekly.
“I applaud the NJ Department of Health for taking this important step,” said Laurie Facciarossa Brewer, the state’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman. “This is an excellent and comprehensive resource for people living in long-term care facilities and for the people who love and support them.”
Last August, as part of Governor Murphy’s announcement to provide $155 million in additional funding to support increased infection control practices in long-term care facilities, Commissioner Persichilli released a directive for the phased reopening of long-term care facilities. The directive implemented requirements and preparations for a COVID surge including attestations of the readiness of facilities.
When facilities conclude their outbreaks and implement the requirements of the DOH’s directive, they can advance in phases, and in each phase, will be able to restore services for residents and ultimately allow for indoor visitation and resumption of normal activities. Beyond the outdoor, compassionate care, essential caregiver, and end-of-life visitation that is permitted in any stage, facilities in several counties have transitioned to a new phase and again welcomed additional indoor visitors.
Indoor visitation is now open in facilities in 10 counties that have met the Department’s requirements. Those counties are Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem and Somerset counties.
The phased-in reopening is based on the outbreak status of a facility, its ability to meet criteria including but not limited to testing of staff and residents, infection control protocols, and adequate staffing and personal protective equipment (PPE).